Enjoy Your Backyard with these Outdoor Fire Pit Safety Tips
While it is still winter here in Colorado, it will soon be warming up enough to have outdoor fires as an evening activity. Fire pits are great places for your family and friends to gather, but they are only fun if they are safe. It’s important to take the time to go over fire pit safety whether you’re planning on adding a fire pit or you already have one. Read on for outdoor fire pit safety tips from Reveal360 Inspection Services.
The Site Placement
The first step towards outdoor fire pit safety is choosing the right site for your fire pit. The ground needs to be level, particularly if you’ve chosen a fire pit that’s portable. There should be no plants, shrubs, or trees within 10 to 20 feet of the site, and don’t position it to close to your home or any other buildings. Cities and counties have different laws about the required distance, so check with them first to make sure your fire pit is in compliance.
Don’t use your fire pit beneath an overhang or in a partially enclosed space. Trim any tree branches hanging over the area so that sparks don’t fly up and catch fire. Put non-combustible materials like bricks, sand, or gravel around your fire pit for an extra level of safety.
Keep chairs far enough away from the flames so that your guests can stand and move around comfortably. If any children are present when a fire is burning, watch them closely.
Fueling Your Fire
Choose wood that’s been seasoned for six months or more. Never burn construction materials, as these can give off toxic fumes. Keep in mind that softwoods will cause more sparks to fly than oak and other hardwoods will. Cut wood so that its length is less than three-quarters of the diameter of the fire pit and don’t use gasoline or lighter fluid to start your fire.
Don’t attempt to light a fire when it’s windy, and use the fire pit’s screen—if it has one—whenever there’s a fire burning. You’ll also want to keep a bucket filled with sand and a garden hose within reach at all times. Set the hose to ‘spray,’ since a stream of water can actually cause sparks to spread, while a sprayed shower should put out flare-ups.
Just to be safe, you may also want to keep a fire blanket close at hand in case anything catches on fire. Have a Class B, Class C, or multipurpose dry chemical fire extinguisher handy, and be sure that you know the proper way to use it. If you have a gas fire pit, make certain that the gas has been turned off before you attempt to extinguish a fire.
Ending the Evening
Be sure to put your fire out properly when the night is through. Your fire pit should have come with instructions for this; read them carefully. Ceramic fire pits and even some metal ones can be cracked by water.
Click here for more information about different kinds of backyard fire pits and more outdoor fire pit safety tips.